Monday, March 19, 2012

Green Beret Foundation

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Please Order Soon!

In January I set the goal of raising $200 for the Green Beret Foundation through sales of “The Night Eagles Soared.”  This is limited to orders placed directly from me on this site and the books website.  My goal is to sell 100 books by 15 April so your order now will make a huge difference.  Please, if you haven’t ordered a copy of my book then do so now.  If you have already ordered, ask your friends and neighbors to help.  This is an opportunity to have a great book and at the same time, help an extraordinary group soldiers.

To order a copy of “The Night Eagles Soared” use the pay pal link found on the right hand side of this page.  If you order today, I will donate $2 to the Green Beret Foundation for each copy.  I appreciate your business a great deal.  Your order will not only enable me to continue writing but it will also be of benefit to an extraordinary group of soldiers.  

To order in advance, a signed and numbered copy of my next book, “Burnt Yellow and Red,” please use the pay pal link for that also located on the right hand side of this page.  We are currently entering into the Layout and Design phase of production on this book and it will be available in a few short months.  This offer, for signed and numbered prerelease copies will end soon so please do not hesitate to place your order now!  

Thank you and God bless you!

Steve     

Friday, March 16, 2012

Review by Author, Joyce Godwin Grubbs

In  author S.B. Newman’s new novel, “Burnt Yellow and Red”, we find a new depth of the author’s literary skills in writing. In this much-anticipated sequel to “The Night Eagles Soared” which left us gasping for more and wanting to know the outcome of the “first mission into Afghanistan and the team that was handpicked to lead it”, we are again privy to the writing style that took us into each mission. The already demonstrated genius of Newman being able to bring every reader ‘into the moment’, men and women, military and novices, is still there as we learn of every move the team makes through the actual preparation of the team and its Special Forces procedures and requirements.

Newman’s sequel could have taken many directions, but rightly decided, he chooses to introduce us to the key member’s of Mike’s team and make them live. The reader is made to care and fret over the welfare of each of them.  Kyle, the “outsider” of the team is made so real you can believe you grew up in Oklahoma with him and that you understood the “Americana” of his life that motivated him into the military. The team in totality is a microcosm of many men in the military and thus represents to the readers someone they know, or know of.

In the journey of Kyle’s character into the team and in proving himself, we are made to feel his doubts and fears, his intense family connection. The role of his love for his wife and its place in all of his service as well as his sons teaches us of the humanity of our men and women in the service: even the distraction love can be when trying to be at the most disciplined. He is a real man, a real soldier, but most of all, an American in love with his wife and family.

Kyle’s relationship with the Team Sergeant, Mike, brings home the incredible bond that binds the military men and women together beyond their service. Even the ‘toughest’ is brought to his knees in gratitude and loss when it comes to his ‘military family’ that has his ‘six’. The respect that has to be earned to go from outsider to valued team member and “brother” is a powerful transition and Newman nails it when he demonstrates the ‘process’ with his personal literary style.

Having found his writing voice, Newman reveals the story of a vital mission into Afghanistan and its pivotal role in establishing our efforts after 9/11.  He creates a story so real that the reader believes they are part of the mission, or could be called on to support the team, as there is such a clear explanation of the training, and service. His gifted telling of the most mundane parts of the preparation and the intent of the team is really Newman’s forte’. It is why yet again, he has a novel that can draw women, families and military men into his literary world. Every reader feels they “fit in” and can participate.

Congratulations to the author who continues to tell “more than a war story”, by revealing the hearts, lives and dreams of the men and women who serve us. No frills, no fuss, just the “real thing”.

Joyce Godwin Grubbs author, The Greyhound Lady Walking Series

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Few Thoughts About Jesse Owens


I sit here tonight, writing with a heavy heart as I remember one of my heroes, a man who had a tremendous influence on not only my life but the lives of many others.  He was a Combat Veteran, a Vietnam Vet who had served with the 173rd and Special Forces there and in many other parts of the world.  He was a Special Forces soldier tried and true who once told me that “Once you have the life in your blood, you are in it forever.  You will always be a Green Beret at heart."  You see, he passed away the other day. 

Jesse Owens was my first Team Sergeant after I graduated the Special Forces Qualification Course.  We first met while deployed to Honduras on a series of exercises that stemmed from “Bigger Pine” and was known in country as the Ahuas Tarras.  Our mission you ask, officially?  To train the Honduran Army in counter insurgency techniques and there was none better at COIN than Jesse.  He knew how to work hard and how to play hard.  His only demand was, “Show respect and you will receive it.”  
He didn’t tolerate rudeness or laziness.  Although, he would let you get away with being a little hung over, but not out of work.  He was the one who taught us all how to be the kind of men we were meant to be in Special Forces.  Do what you say and mean what you say, that sort of thing.  That is a pretty simple concept really. 
Third from the left, he always led through example, even when it almost killed him, even after he knew he was too old to keep up.  He had no choice, it was his life. And he let the rumors, the ignorance and prejudice of others roll off his shoulders.  He once told me, “Don’t matter what they say or do, they can’t take away from you what you’ve already done!”  He retired from the Army and received the Legion of Merit for his service to our great nation.    
I’ll never forget the first day I reported into the team room.  Jesse sat me down and showed me his “I love me book.”  The first page he turned to was a Western Union telegram that his parents had received.  On it were written these words, “Your son died a hero in the service to our great nation!” Well, it was something like that.  He was so proud of that telegram and I looked up at him sheepishly and asked, “So you weren’t dead?” 
“Hell no ya big dummy!” he said as he turned the page and showed me the write up for his purple heart that he got while assigned to the 173rd Infantry as an 11 Bravo.  Then he said, “I got shot in the arm by a gook carrying a shot gun. They sent me home after my surgery and that is when I went through Special Forces Training.”  He had half his bicep blown off and still made it through and earned his flash.  That is pretty amazing when you stop to think about it.
Jesse became one of the most competent Military Free Fall guru’s in the Army.  He was a MFF Jump Master and had over four thousand jumps by the time it was all said and done.  And those weren’t jumps with square canopies either.  Most of them were as an instructor in HALO Committee under the MC-3 Para commando.  The opening shock alone could snap your spine, and if you had to cut away, the reserve was a T-10, just like the ones the static line guys used.  He took our team to altitudes of over twenty five thousand feet, day and night combat equipment you name it.  He never cut us slack when it came time to Jump. 
One time he volunteered me to jump some round canopies at yellow ramp just so the rest of the guys could get up to altitude on the same platforms.  I jumped static line squares and a plethora of other round canopies.  The worst one was a Forestry Service rig that had suspension lines so long that when I started to oscillate a little, the next thing I knew I was swinging like a pendulum underneath it and then, my parachute hit the ground before I did.  Ouch!  He laughed and laughed, and laughed…then he sent me to HALO School.  I guess he figured that I had earned it by then.      
That team was an incredible team.  After he left to become the 1st Sergeant of a Civil Affairs company…and that is a funny story.  On his first day he called formation and then proceeded to tell all the females to not worry about a sexual harassment law suit.  His reason, “Cause half of ya’s married and the other half of ya are to ugly to @#$#! J     He lasted about thirty days on that gig.  He also made E-6 three times but that is a different story all together.    
Anyway, this is not an all inclusive list but Jesse’s team produced, a LTC who commanded a squadron as one of the boys in the band, a Chief Warrant Officer 03 who commanded ODA’s for decades, three Operators across the fence, two or three of the best medics in the Army, Swany, and Arbo  and Barger, and one blonde headed radio operator who only wanted to accomplish one thing in his life.  To become a Team Sergeant just like Jesse.  I was lucky and got two chances at it.  Once in Panama in the CIF and then again working with the 20th in Afghanistan just before I retired.  Both opportunities were the highlight of my career and I owe them to Jesse because he is the one who put the desire to become a Team Sergeant one day in my heart.
Now, before I finish this story I must tell the story of Jesse as Team Sergeant because they have been floating around out there for years, they still are. I actually had a young SF Troop repeat one to me, not knowing that I had lived it.  Imagine that!  Jesse was famous.  Anyway. 
Between deployments, none of which we ever missed, Jesse decided to take our team to Panama to go through his style of jungle training.  We weren’t to sure what that meant but we eagerly agreed that it would be fun. So we flew out of Fort Bragg, conducted In Flight Rigging and did a MFF from 17K feet AGL onto Gatun DZ, which was covered with Cuna Grass fifteen feet tall.  Chief Broke his ankle and the rest of us managed as Jesse laughed at our cheery mistake of landing in the grass while he had landed on the road.
The next day he took us out onto Gatun Lake on RB-15s and we learned how to do “Cast and Recovery” and he explained the “Bounding Over Boat” concept. “J” For you who are Maritime impaired that is the process of using one boat loaded with soldiers to provide security for the other boat load who would subsequently sneak their way up to another over watch position, unseen.  First one boat would bound up and then the other, thus, the “Bounding Over Boat” technique!  J  We practiced and practiced until almost dark.  That is when Jesse announced that we were going on a Survival Training Exercise, and I think he did it because he was pissed at all of us for making fun of how serious he had been when he said, “Bounding Over Boat!”  J 
Anyway, we pulled up to one of the islands on Gatun Lake along the Panama Canal and got out of the boats. Then Jesse said, “Okay, everybody…give me five dollars!”  We were like, “What for?” and he said, I’ma gonna go get some seafood for us to feast on, while you boys build us a big fire.”  As we all pooled our money together, he prepared to take off, tying the second boat to the first one.  We never saw him do it.
We handed him the money as he stood there, counting it to make sure, and he said, “Okay, I got almost fifty dollars, what ya’ll want?”  We started naming off all the kinds of sea food we would like to have and then he said, “Okay, I’ma gonna go into town and I’ll be back rickety-tickity with some lobsters and some clams, and some scallops.”
Four days later he arrived to find one pissed bunch of guys.  Especially since there was only one Iguana on that damn Island and we couldn’t catch him.  Swany said; we need an Iguana Dog and I laughed and laughed, hysterically hallucinating from hunger at the thought of a dog that looked like an iguana.  Now we were surrounded by a big fresh water lake and it was at least three miles to shore, we calculated it. 
Anyway we forgave him out of hunger cause in the boat he had a bunch of coconuts, some live iguanas and iguana eggs, several live chickens and a big bushel bag of clams.  We were so hungry we skinned those chickens with our bare hands, and Camacho bit there heads off as Jesse mixed a pot of clams and yucca and iguana and chicken gumbo that was…well not that tasty but it sure did fill our bellies.  We all sat around the fire and listened to Jesse tell us the story of why it took him so long to get back.  Apparently he lost our fifty dollars playing dominoes, probably in a bordello or something; so he had to wait till pay day to cash a check at the PX on Fort Davis. 
We never did forgive him for leaving us out there.  He would laugh and say, “I bet you guys won’t fall for that one no more!”  Chief, oh well he broke his foot so he was back in the rear. After that, we never let Jesse drive a boat or a truck or anything. 
The next day we drove the boats into Dock 45 and boarded a Duece and half.  Jesse had one of his friends from 3rd Battalion set up everything up.  So we went straight through Gatun across the locks, turned left and drove out over the the Dam across the river and around to the back side of Fort Sherman.  For those of you who don’t know, Fort Sherman was the Jungle Operations Training Center for years and years and it was absolutely fantastic jungle with all the Howler monkeys and Toucans, and Sloths you can imagine.
We down loaded the truck and Jesse waited and then he announced, “Okay boys, we go tactical from here on until we hit the beach.”  Sonny Barger said, “But Jesse, the beach is like twenty clicks through some of the thickest jungle in the world.” And Jesse just smiled and said, “Wiggy you got point!”  And off we went. 
We stepped into the wood line off the road and immediately it was a different world.  We moved for a little over half a day and then came to a muddy hill that quickly turned into a cliff so steep it was almost impossible to climb down.  Jesse slid down and took a seat. I was above him about three meters back, holding a tree for balance and Wiggy was below him, about the same distance.  That is when Wiggy said, “Top there is a pretty big hole in the ground here.” And Jesse replied, “Work yer way around wiggy, work yer way around to the left.” 
Wiggy was able to work his way around and once he was on the other side, he called out, “There is a way, just follow my trail!” That is when the twig Jesse was using to hold on, snapped.  His left hand went up into the air and then the other one snapped and his right hand went up into the air and he started sliding like in that movie Romancing the Stone, down the hill.  “Whoa,,,whoaaaaaaaa  Damn Newman Puuuuuuushed Meeeeeeeee” he screamed as he launched into a perfect HALO arch and fell through a wall of spider webs that covered the bottom of the pit. 
What we didn’t realize was that the spider webs were ten feet or so up from the bottom and Jesse fell through leaving a perfect out line of his body like in the cartoons and  then he splatted into knee deep muddy clay and water.  “Top!  Top!” I yelled, and then we heard him moving around, “Are you okay?” 
Well we were all laughing our asses off when he said, “I’ll be…I’ll be okay…see if I can find a way out-a-here.  I’ll move down here to the right and see if there is a way out.  You guys, work your way around and link up with Wiggy.”  We wasted no time. 
We moved parallel to the draw for at least three hundred meters when Jesse announced that he had found his way out. “Wiggy asked, “Top, do ya need a rope?”  “No…I’ll be okay.”  We waited for about five minutes and that is when we heard him scream, “Oh my god, oh my god, through me a rope!”  So we tossed one down to him and he came up out of that hole like his hair was on fire.  “Ants, there everywhere!”  He threw his rucksack down and pulled the drive on rag from around his neck and proceeded to get undressed right there as we brushed the ants off him. 
Then he announced, “We gonna R.O.N right here” That night we built a fire and dried our clothing but it took three days to get out of that jungle.  The last day, we were walking through the mahinga swamp back and forth for hours and then two Panamanians went by in a Panga.  A hollowed out log made into a canoe.  Well anyway, Jesse asked them in Spanish of course, “Hey boys, any Cocodrilos  out here?”  No…No don’t worry Senior, Los Piranha's ate them all!”   
“Pea-ron-ya's!"  Oh hail, hit the high ground boys, hit he high ground.”  We all stood there laughing, waist deep in water as Jesse climbed a stump.  That is when Sonny Barger lost it.  “Screw this shit!, I’m outa here, who’s with me?”  He took out a machete and hacked his way to the beach, five minutes later we were all standing there in the sunlight, drenched and muddy, laughing at each other.  It had been a great couple of days in the woods. 
One thing about Jesse is that he always kept a good sense of humor and he could roll with the punches. We all loved and respected him for who he was, a hero in the service of our great nation.  The stories get better every time we tell them.  God bless you Jesse, keep your socks dry and your hair tall until we meet again at the gathering place.

El Rubio     

Written by an SF Brother, about being a Speical Forces Soldier! 

The Gathering Place

Our lives portend a journey
From our birth unto our death
A tangled web of experiences
Creating the map of our bequeath.

The roads we travel are many
Some short and others long,
Twisted and broken, straight and narrow
Some recorded in verse or song.

The tales we weave are epic
When shared within our fold
The deeds achieved… historic
And the memories never grow old.

The Elysian Fields are found by some
Valhalla’s halls others may share
And Haydes gates from the river Styx
As the boatman takes his fare.

No matter what we call it,
Our mythos is our goal
It’s the hall of deeds and legends…
A place where we all go.

Our brothers go before us…
To that place from history past
A place known only to warriors,
A place to rest at last.

The songs become the legends
For our brotherhood to embrace
And when the reaper comes a calling
We meet at the gathering place.

Copyright 2010, Thomas Gluzinski, All Rights Reserved.